Public Hearing, November 8, 2012
TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 8, 2012
TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
COMMISSION HEARING ROOM
4200 SMITH SCHOOL ROAD
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78744
REPORTED BY: PAIGE SLOAN WATTS
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Good morning, everybody. The Chairman is en route, but he asked that we go ahead and start. This meeting is called to order November 7th, 2012, at 9:10 a.m.
Before we proceed with our business, Mr. Smith, I think you have a statement to make.
MR. SMITH: I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 Government Code referred to as the Opening Meetings Act. I would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.
Also, Chairman, I just want to join you and the Commissioners in welcoming everybody this morning. I appreciate everybody sorting their way here through the fog. So, nice to see everybody. A little bit for those of you -- or a little detail or background for those of you if this is your first Commission meeting, we'll start it off very shortly with some recognition and awards for colleagues who have retired from the Agency or who are being recognized for special awards or longstanding service. And so that will probably take up the first hour of the meeting.
After that, the Chairman will call for a brief recess so that those of you that are here for that can leave and then those that are going to stay for the remainder of the meeting can do so. For those of you who are staying for the remainder of the meeting, if there's a particular agenda item that you want to speak to, we'd ask that you sign up outside and at the appropriate time the Chairman will call you and ask you to come forward.
You'll have three minutes. He'll ask that you state your name and who you represent and what your position is on the particular topic of interest. I'll monitor your time over here. Green means go, yellow means start to wind it down, and red means stop. And so appreciate everyone's adherence to that.
Last but not least, just because of the acoustics in the room, if you've got a cell phone or Blackberry, if you don't mind just putting that on silence or put it on vibrate or just turn it off. If you've got a conversation you want to have, we just respectfully ask that you step outside. Thanks for joining us this morning.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: All right, sir. Thank you. And I misspoke. I said November 7. I think I meant November 8.
All right, the next item is the approval of the minutes from the previous Commission meeting held on August 20, 2012, which have already been distributed. Is there a motion for approval? Commissioner Falcon. Second by Commissioner Scott. All in favor, aye?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.
Next is the acknowledgment of the list of donations, which has also been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?
COMMISSIONER HIXON: So moved.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Hixon. Second Commissioner Morian. All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.
Okay, special recognitions and service awards. Mr. Smith.
MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission. For the record, my name is Carter Smith. We're going to start off with some special awards, and we've got a couple of colleagues that are incredibly deserving today. And, you know, there's a statistic here that there are 87,000 women that work for State government and every other year, the State Agency Council on Government honors four women across the state, all the agencies, for their exemplary service to the State. And this year, there were 56 nominees. I'm pleased to say that nine of them hailed from Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and of the four that's selected, one of them was from this Department, Amie Treuer-Kuehn.
And we couldn't think of a more fitting awardee. Not only are we proud of the fact that she's from this Department and has done such an extraordinary job, but I think she's also the first scientist to be recognized for her outstanding service to government. Amie works in our GIS lab. She's part of the Landscape Ecology team, and she's been working on a project that was started by another one of our colleagues that actually we're going to recognize him for his service today; but is mapping all of the plant communities throughout Texas, and this hasn't been done since 1984. It gives us a great opportunity to update the vegetative classifications.
And Amie is a botanist and in that job, she literally travels from one end of the state to another working with private landowners to ground truth, vegetation and habitats on the ground. The work that she's doing, she's been I think to 214 of the 254 counties in the state. So she literally has seen it all from one end to the next. The work that she's doing will help us with modeling and habitat conservation and conservation planning, looking at habitat suitability for everything lesser prairie chickens to black bears. Just been extraordinary in her contributions and we're awfully, awfully proud to recognize Amie today for the Outstanding Women in Texas Government, Amie Treuer-Kuehn. Amie.
(Round of applauses and photographs)
MR. SMITH: We've got our friends with us from the Shikar-Safari Club this year to recognize one of the outstanding officers. And this is the 32nd year that a Texas Game Warden has been recognized by Shikar-Safari Club, and that organization does great work to help educate the public about wildlife across the globe. And so we're really pleased that they take the time too to recognize one of our officers for their exemplary work and it's fitting that Danny Kelso is recognized with this year's award.
Danny graduated from the Academy 22 years ago. Been stationed at various times down on the coast at Aransas County and Refugio County. He really practices what the Law Enforcement Division preaches in terms of community oriented policing. Just a go-to guy for the community, whether they want to have an event, whether it's a first responder or Law Enforcement issue, a fire fighting issue. He just is always there for the community. He's also just an extraordinary Game Warden and he's got lots of business catching poachers hunting the long pastures along the highways and taking shots from vehicles when they otherwise should not and so he's done a great job of collaring those outlaws.
He's worked very closely with our Wildlife Division down there on the state wildlife management area also to make sure that waterfowl hunters are not doing things they shouldn't. And there's a wonderful story about Danny that one day he noticed this little merry group of band of outlaws driving by his house, casing his house to see if he was at home and so he quickly realized what they were up to. And so he let them go by and they immediately went to the wildlife management area and unbeknownst to them, Danny went over there, parked his truck, waited for them to come out. They had a gaggle of ducks and at that time, Danny greeted them and told them two things. First, duck season had been closed for two weeks; and secondly, Game Wardens are always on duty.
And so we're awfully proud of Danny and come forward and present this award on behalf of the Shikar-Safari Club is our friend Eric Stumberg. Who, of course, many of you know his late father who served so proudly on the Commission and such a great conservationist. And so I want to ask Eric to come forward; so, Eric.
MR. STUMBERG: So just a quick word. Shikar-Safari Club was started in 1952, so it's before the internet when people just wanted to talk about hunting and hunting ideas. And it evolved into an organization that was really -- wanted to make a meaningful impact on conservation and so in terms of conservation, protection, and enhancement of wildlife and one of the biggest areas that you can do that is in effective law enforcement and of regulations.
So it started a program that recognizes officers in all 50 states and all the territories in Canada. And one of the neat things about it is it is a peer award. And as everybody knows, one of the best things to be recognized is by people who know what you do and think that you do it in an excellent and noteworthy manner. So it's -- I wanted to read two things that came from the nomination and the nominator is Danny's buddy who is sitting next to him; but some things, as we go through leadership, it was really cool. It says he always exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism. He has a reputation of honesty, integrity, and a gentleman and he always takes time to educate the less experienced and newer officers -- so he's been mentoring -- and he's always willing to take a lead position and to be an example.
So it's really my pleasure to recognize what your peers have put forward. Thank you, Warden Kelso.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: We're going to now honor some of our colleagues that have recently retired from the Agency. And lately, y'all have heard a lot about the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area in South Texas. One of our flagship wildlife management areas known for wonderful site for research and demonstration, also for some extraordinary public hunting opportunities and probably nobody in this Agency is more closely affiliated with both the Chap and its success than David Synatzske.
And David has retired after 39 years of service to the State of Texas. He started as an intern with the Department, and then when he got out of A&M -- let me hear the obligatory whoops. Painful, painful, but I just wanted to get it out of the way, Chairman. So after he graduated from that school on the Brazos, he was hired as a Wildlife Technician over in Ozona and then was over in Rocksprings and spent a little time at Tennessee Colony at the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management area, another wonderful site that the Department manages. And then in '83, he became the manager down there at the Chap and David really put in place an extraordinary program to improve habitat, manage the game and nongame, hired some wonderful biologists over the years that just did some extraordinary research.
And I think one of the great testaments to David's leadership was about four years ago when there was just a catastrophic fire that came through the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area and literally burned up 95 percent of that WMA. And David was at a time in his career where he could have packed his toys and gone home. He chose to stay and really look at that as an opportunity of what could we learn from that catastrophic landscape fire and put in place and partnership with A&M Kingsville and a number of other entities, various research projects to look at postfire response.
He's been a great mentor. He was one of the founders of the Big Game Awards Program, which is a wonderful partnership we have with TWA; Boone and Crockett Score. Again, a great mentor, leader, and he's been an inspiration to many in the wildlife community. David Synatzske, 39 years of service. David.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: Our next colleague that we're going to recognize for three decades of service is our former Law Enforcement Captain Gary Dugan. And Gary also had just an extraordinary career with this Agency. When he got out of the Game Warden Academy, he was sent to East Texas up in Rains County and up in Jefferson/Marion County up there near Caddo Lake. And, you know, during his career, again Gary has really exemplified that community oriented policing and being an integral part of the fabric of a community. He was recognized by two of the communities that he served for his work in saving the lives of two individuals.
He was actually the first officer from the Parks & Wildlife that was recognized with the Marine Safety Enforcement Award for his work with water safety and boating safety in East Texas. He had a stint at the Game Warden Training Center when it was still here in Austin serving as a Lieutenant helping to train and mold the new cadets and help them get ready for their careers as game wardens. And so, again, a perfect manifestation of how he has always given back.
About ten years ago, he was promoted to Captain there in the Rusk office in East Texas. And yesterday I had a call out of the blue from a game warden that had worked with Gary in his career and he wanted to be here to see his friend Gary get this award and what he commented on was what a great mentor he had been, what a great coach, how he had been a leader, been a great husband and a great father and just again had manifested all those wonderful values that we see in our Parks & Wildlife employees. It was also just an important reminder of how important the role our first-line supervisors play in making sure that our colleagues have rewarding careers here at the Department. And I'm very proud, Gary Dugan, 30 years of service. Gary.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: This year is going to be the first year in 60 years we have not had a Guthrie working for Texas Parks & Wildlife and that is our loss, Jay, I want you to know. Jay Guthrie is a game warden's game warden. The son of a game warden who served this Agency proudly. Went on to be sheriff there at Edwards County and his son Jay got the bug early to come work for the Department when he was growing up also and living in Johnson City.
When he was in college at Tarleton State, worked as an intern there for us at Pedernales Falls State Park, shortly after I think the State acquired it back in the early 70s. When he got out of college, he went to work and served our country proudly in the Army for a number of years. Came back, went through the Academy. Did a stint down on the coast in Refugio County. Went back home to Edwards County and then he was promoted to one of our Captain's jobs there in La Grange.
But really for the last nine or ten years, Jay has been our Regional Director in Central Texas overseeing all of our work there in the Hill Country out of the Brownwood office. He's a straight shooter. A very honorable officer. Served this state tirelessly and proudly just like his father. Awfully proud of the career of Jay Guthrie. Let's recognize him for 29 years of service. Jay.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: We've all got people in our lives that we can look back on who we recognize gave us a helping hand when they didn't have to and my friend and colleague Ruben Cantu is one of those. Ruben is a Wildlife Biologist who has served the State proudly for 27 years. I first met Ruben when I was in college and I think the thing that impressed me about Ruben was the time that he always took to try to get to know students that were interested in studying wildlife biology and conservation and help them understand what a career might look like. Always gave back to the professional society, the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society; and really was a mentor for so many young people that wanted to get involved in this profession.
And he lived that throughout his career. Started in '84 as a Wildlife Biologist with the Agency out in San Angelo. Was promoted to a Technical Guidance Biologist where he provided wildlife management planning services to landowners in West Texas on well over a million and a half acres helping them with mule deer and pronghorn antelope and blue quail. Ruben has always been known for his focus on the core, the habitat, and helping landowners start there in terms of managing heir ranches out in West Texas.
In '97, he was promoted to our West Texas Regional Director where he oversaw a team of almost 50 biologists and technicians and administrative assistants that help manage and conserve wildlife in West Texas. Here at the Agency, he's been a mentor for our Natural Leaders Program. He's been recognized three times with employee awards. Recently named an Outstanding Alumnus by his college down at A&M Kingsville. And the Texas Wildlife Association just recently awarded him with their prestigious Conservation Leadership Award. Awfully proud of all that Ruben has done for this fine Agency and our lands and waters, 27 years of service, Ruben Cantu. Ruben.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: When we think about outstanding women in state government, another lady that comes to mind is Karen Meador with our Coastal Fisheries team. We had a chance to recognize Karen a little over a year ago for 35 years of service. She retired on us this year after 36 years of service. Just an extraordinary career and really a groundbreaking one in so many ways.
She started off here working for the Inland Fisheries team in Federal Aid and then moved down to the coast to work as a biologist in Corpus Christi Bay and Aransas Bay systems. She was ultimately promoted to be the Ecosystem Team Leader down there where she's responsible for overseeing that team of biologists and technicians that are responsible for that just extraordinary bay system. She's been involved with so many important game species down there from black drum and redfish and shrimp. She's worked on marine mammals. She's worked on sea turtles.
I think one of the most important things that Karen worked on though for really nearly a decade with her colleagues in Coastal Fisheries down there was just a project to continually educate our anglers and boaters about the criticality of seagrass and how that really is the lifeblood for those bay systems. She was instrumental in helping to set up the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, which y'all have heard presentations about which have been very, very successful in terms of protecting those critical seagrass meadows. And she's just been a wonderful leader for this Agency, a great spirit, and just a biologist to the core and awfully proud of her. We're sorry to see her go; but 36 years of service to the State, Karen Meador. Karen.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: We're going to now honor colleagues for longstanding service, and we're going to stay with Coastal Fisheries for a while as we recognize Nancy Ziegler for 30 years of service. I think all of our colleagues in Coastal Fisheries will say there's a special place just to the right of God for looking over Ed Hegen down there in Rockport and so Nancy has earned that place very -- yeah, hear, hear, exactly -- very well.
Just again, a wonderful career with the Agency. Starting out as an Administrative Assistant and just working her way all the way up really to be that special Executive Assistant there for the Rockport Regional Office and you know how critical those jobs are. They just do absolutely everything, keep everybody in line, they're responsive to all of the field folks that depend upon them for all of the reports and needs and payments and expenditures and Nancy has done it just with great pride and great professionalism and a wonderful sense of service and we're awfully proud to recognize her for 30 years of service, Nancy Ziegler. Nancy.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: Richard Ott is one of our District Inland Fisheries Biologists over in Tyler. He's been with us for 30 years. He started work under Charlie Inman who's been a well-known Inland Fisheries biologist with the Agency and when Charlie retired, Richard took his position over there in Tyler and so been really one of our most important -- again, those front-line leaders in the field that are responsible with their team of biologists and technicians of making sure that those lakes and water bodies in that area of East Texas are well-stocked and well-managed and that we provide important habitat for the fish and also places for fishermen to get out and enjoy their public waters.
And I think one of the most remarkable things about Richard is that while working full time, he managed to go back to Stephen F. Austin to get his PhD in biology or aquatic ecology. He really developed a keen interest in native plants and how we could start growing those out and using native plants to improve habitat in the public water bodies. Did his PhD dissertation on competition between invasive species and native species. Has really been one of our thought leaders there with respect to managing habitat in East Texas.
He's published, you know, 15 scientific papers. Very involved with all of the professional associations and I think he's the president-elect of the Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Section. And so we're awfully proud of his leadership out in the field and his service to this Agency, 30 years of service, Richard Ott. Richard.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: Our next colleague really needs no introduction. She's just the -- has this wonderful and indomitable spirit. If you need a party thrown around here, the first person you go to is Dee Halliburton. She is -- she is just great. Dee has been with us for 25 years and when you think about the great family culture of this Agency, you know, Dee is leading the pack. She started off working in the warehouse. She moved over here to the Executive Office and worked with Executive Director Andy Sansom, helping in Intergovernmental Affairs. At some point, Inland and Coastal Fisheries poached her to come over there to help Gary and Robin and their predecessors and she serves as their Executive Assistant and she's just an extraordinary lady.
One of the things that Dee has also done in terms of giving back is just extraordinary leadership and contributions to helping the Race For The Cure and helping to fight breast cancer. And the inaugural team that she put together for this Agency went out and raised well over I think $11,000. They came in third place out of a thousand teams in Central Texas that were raising money to support that 5-kilometer walk. She's headed up our State Employee Charitable Campaign. Again, when you want something done and you want it done right, go to Dee Halliburton. Twenty-five years of service, Dee.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: You know, our next colleague I think has given more presentations to the Commission than anybody on the planet and he said after about a hundred of them, a few more he ought to get them right, Ken Kurzawski. We're going to recognize Ken for 25 years of service to the Agency.
Ken started off back when we had a District Inland Fisheries Office -- I guess, Gary, at Sheldon Lake back then when it was a wildlife management area. And Ken led a team over there managing lakes in Southeast Texas. That office got moved to Bryan and Ken ended up moving up to Minnesota for a couple of years working with their DNR before he came back to Texas Parks & Wildlife.
And I think as all of you know, Ken has really played such an important role on the human dimension's front, the community outreach, the regulatory front for Inland Fisheries if there's an issue on catfish or bass or alligator gar or you name it, Ken is on point for managing that process, making sure we have good science, making sure that we go out and get appropriate public input into it and he's just a masterful job. He stays cool, calm, and collected under sometimes the most tense of circumstances. And we're awfully proud to recognize Ken for 25 years of service. Ken.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: Earlier when we were honoring Amie, I mentioned that statewide vegetation classification system project that our Landscape Ecology team and our GIS program has been working on and it really is just cutting edge science. It's a very, very important planning tool that we need to have that baseline vegetation map for all of our habitat related planning and conservation planning in the state and really the brain trust behind that in architect is Duane German.
And Duane has been with us for 20 years. He started out in really the Coastal Studies Branch, which is part of the Resource Protection Division. And again, pioneering some of this GIS and remote sensing software to get a sense of different habitats and communities around the state. He created the Landscape Ecology Program, which again has just played a really important role supporting our natural resource divisions.
He's a great scientist. He's a real thoughtful visionary leader in terms of what we need to be thinking about from a fish and wildlife and habitat conservation. He thinks about it at scales that matter ecologically and has just really helped to transform thinking and planning here and awfully proud to recognize Duane for his 20 years service, Duane German. Duane.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: Our next colleague is one of our managers in the Infrastructure Division. Dan Delleney has been with us 20 years and he started out on a temporary basis and quickly worked his way up to a full-time Construction Inspector. He's a master electrician, and so widely recognized for his skills and attributes on that front.
He was quickly promoted to lead our Inspection team in Infrastructure and so this is our collection really of inspection professionals all around the state that are going out and looking at construction projects and making sure that they're done to our standards and our specs and a really important quality assurance role inside the Agency. Just done a masterful job of professionalizing that function, organizing that group of inspectors into a real team and work unit that plays such an important role in making sure that we get our Infrastructure projects, a number of which y'all had a chance to hear about yesterday.
And so we're awfully proud of his commitments to this Agency, Dan Delleney, 20 years of service. Dan.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: Our last colleague that we're going to recognize last but certainly not least is Darlene Lewis. And Darlene is, again, one of those just wonderful forces of nature around here. She's just such an extraordinarily special lady. I first heard Darlene when she had a morning talk show here in Austin on the radio. It was the leading talk show in Austin and eventually Parks & Wildlife lured her to come work for the Department and help create what at that time was called The Outdoor Connection -- It's now called Passport to Texas -- you've heard that radio show. And so she worked with Stacy Bishop, who was a Game Warden here in Austin, to produce a show about the outdoors and conservation and hunting and angling and state parks and really did a masterful job just reaching audiences around the state.
Sometime when she was working on that, Darlene recognized that one of the most important things that this Agency ought to be doing is reaching out to underserved communities and underserved kids and trying to provide opportunities to give them a chance to get out and enjoy and experience nature. And she was instrumental in creating a grant program that we call the CO-OP Program, which provides grants to deserving nonprofits that are focused on getting kids out in the door -- out in the out of doors to hunt, fish, camp, canoe, kayak, enjoy wildlife. And so she has forged partnerships with literally hundreds of nonprofit organizations that are focused on that and in so many ways has helped to advance our mission. She's a great ambassador for us. Darlene Lewis, 20 years service. Darlene.
(Round of applause and photographs)
MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, that concludes my presentation this morning. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Carter very much. Let me crank this up, here we go so. So I would like to inform -- it looks like everyone knows the drill. You're certainly welcome to stay. We'll give you a few minutes to head on out.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: All right, let's go ahead and kick this off if we can. The first order of business is Action Item No. 1, Approval of a Revised Agenda -- standby just a minute. I think there was one other award recipient who we need to recognize and he's looking down right now; but, Carter, that was a nice try.
I've just been reminded that our own Carter Smith was awarded the Victor Emanuel Conservation Award this past weekend by the Audubon Society. And this a terrific honor, a terrific award, and one that is received by very few people. And so we just want to congratulate you, Carter, for your contributions to the state of Texas, conservation, all the things that you're passionate about and that we're passionate about. It's really a tremendous honor.
I believe the only previous recipients are Victor Emanuel himself and, of course, the Department's Andy Sansom. So congratulations on that and we weren't going to let you -- as humble as you are about things like that, we wanted to just recognize you and embarrass you a little bit on that.
MR. SMITH: You succeeded.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: But it truly is a huge honor, and so we're proud of you. Thank you, Carter.
Okay. So first order of business is Action Item 1, Approval of a Revised Agenda. And I want to also point out that Action Item No. 6, Acceptance of Land Donation, Presido County, Approximately 150 Acres of Land as an Addition to Big Bend Ranch State Park has been withdrawn from the agenda at this time. Do we have a motion for approval?
COMMISSIONER MARTIN: So moved.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Martin. Second by Commissioner Morian. All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.
Item 2 is Rule Review, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes and Completed Rule Review, Ms. Ann Bright. Good morning.
MS. BRIGHT: Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. As we discussed yesterday, every four years we're required by the Administrative Procedure Act to review all of our rules and to either adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal. And we're doing this on a chapter-by-chapter.
We've just finished the rules there -- 51, 52, 55, 60, 61 -- and have identified some changes that need to be made in Chapters 51 and 61. All of the others we're not proposing to change at this time.
In Chapter 51, we would like to make some minor changes to the timing of recommendations regarding petitions for rulemaking. Employee fundraising, we propose a change that really reflects the investment policy in terms of who can approve donations. Contract dispute resolution, a couple of non-substantive changes there. Disclosure of customer information for purposes of accuracy, we propose to replace commercial customer with non-recreational customer. And under the exception, we propose to eliminate the exception about the opt-out provision for magazine and commercial or non-recreational customers.
On the advisory committees, we have several advisory committees that have expired, but have still stayed on the books and we would propose to remove those from the books and also clarify that the expiration date for advisory committees will be as stated for each advisory committee.
On 61, we do -- we did get a comment on this late yesterday that is resulting in our recommending a minor change. This has to do with our process primarily administered by the Infrastructure Division. And what we would propose -- what the original proposal did was is it listed specific methods of solicitation. There were some -- one of -- the comment from the Association of General Contractors raised some concerns about the language referencing some of these specific delivery methods. Therefore, to give us maximum flexibility and also to address their comment, we're recommending that we change the language to rather than addressing specific delivery methods, just to reference methods authorized by applicable law.
We received three comments regarding Chapter -- in support of Chapter 61, and I've already mentioned the comment requesting a change. Here is the motion for your approval. We're requesting approval of changes to Chapters 51 and 61 as published in the Texas Register on October 5th, as well as adoption of the completed rule review of Chapters 51, 52, 55, 60, and 61. I'd be happy to answer any questions.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Ann? Thanks, Ann. Nobody is -- no one signed up to speak on this. So a motion for approval? Moved by Commissioner Scott. Second by Commissioner Falcon. All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thanks, Ann.
Our next item, No. 3, is a Land Acquisition, Palo Pinto County, Approximately 120 Acres at Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, Mr. Ted Hollingsworth. Good morning.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This item you were briefed on in August by Mr. Smith. As you know, last year we acquired 3,333 acres about 70 miles west of Fort Worth straddling the Palo Pinto Mountains to form the core of a brand new state park, Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.
As we have gotten on the ground and evaluated opportunities for developing a public use plan and master plan for that property, we determined that we could use a little more area near the park entrance. The park entrance is a spectacular location, but it's very rugged. It was going to make it difficult to design and construct visitor orientation facilities and so staff recommended that we acquire some level ground at the park entrance to accommodate the development, the planning and development of visitor orientation facilities, and so we've identify this 120-acre tract.
We have a willing seller at appraised value. We have an option to buy with that seller. Again, it's relatively level. We have surveyed. We've done the phase one. We are prepared to close here shortly upon your authorization. It's a pretty area, but it's nestled there at the foothills of those Palo Pinto Mountains and gives us a much needed level area for development.
Staff does recommend that the Commission adopt this motion: The Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 120 acres in Palo Pinto County for addition to Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. And I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Ted? Great. Motion -- thanks, Ted. Motion for approval? By Commissioner Martin. Second by Commissioner Hixon. All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? I didn't hear anything. Motion carries.
Ted, you're next. Item No. 4, Request for Pipeline Easement, Brazoria County, Two Hydrocarbon Pipelines at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This is the second reading of an item you were briefed on in August. At the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area -- let me get to that picture -- there is an inholding that includes a significant tank battery and petrochemical facility. The only way for them to get product in and out of that facility is to cross the wildlife management area.
As a result of the increase in product flowing out of West Texas, Enterprise Pipeline has requested an easement for two new pipelines to get a product in and out of that facility. They've worked extremely closely with staff to find the route that has the fewest impacts on natural resources, including those of the wildlife management area. They've agreed on protocols for managing the vegetation over that pipeline that will result in native prairie management as opposed to the standard periodic mowing and exotic grasses that typically accommodate that.
They will be paying standard fees in accordance with our rate schedule. There will be no surface expression aside from the restoration of that native pasture, native prairie over the pipeline, over the pipeline easement itself. And because there is no prudent alternative to the pipelines and because they have worked well with us to minimize those impacts, staff does the recommend that the Commission adopt the resolution that you have attached as Exhibit A. And I'd be happy to answer any questions.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Ted. Any questions for Ted? Okay. Motion for approval?
COMMISSIONER HIXON: So moved.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Hixon. Second by Commissioner Hughes was that? All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.
Apparently Ted is still up because he's still here. No. 5, Land Acquisition, Bexar County, 461 Acres at Government Canyon State Natural Area.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth, and I'm very pleased to bring to you a recommendation to accept the acquisition or to agree with the acquisition of 461 acres at Government Canyon State Natural Area. As you well know, it is -- we're extremely proud of this State Natural Area. It's about 9,000 acres now. It's inside the city limits of San Antonio.
There are only a handful of undeveloped tracts still adjacent to that State Natural Area. We've been working for years literally. We've been in contact with all those landowners looking for opportunities to add to that acreage while we still have an opportunity. This particular landowner is a willing seller at about 25 percent less than appraised value. We've been working with the Nature Conservancy and with the City of San Antonio now for about a year to bring the pieces to the table necessary to make this acquisition happen.
One of those pieces is a City of San Antonio Proposition 1, multi-million dollar contribution to protect karst features and recharge features on the subject property. Another one is a one and a half million dollar grant from the Fish and Wildlife service to protect Golden-cheeked warblers and Karst Invertebrates that also associate with that property. The rest of that will be made up with Land and Water Conservation funds that will be matched with donated funds.
So again, we brought a number of pieces together to make this possible. Part of the reason for our concern about this tract, as you can see in this picture, the city of San Antonio is rapidly encroaching on the State Natural Area. This is the view to the north from the second highest point in Bexar County, which is on this tract. Turning around and looking in the other direction, this is the view down into the State Natural Area. In fact, a view looking right down Government Canyon itself. A very beautiful tract. A tract that would add significant recreational opportunities to the State Natural Area.
Again, it's just been a neat partnership for all these folks to come together wanting to see that property added to the State Natural Area. The minerals have been severed. We're researching those now; but there is no oil and gas activity in the area, and we're confident it will probably stay that way based on our research of the geology. The survey has been completed. The appraisal has been completed. The phase one environmental has been completed. We would like to push forward fairly quickly to close if you authorize us to do so.
And staff does recommend that you adopt the following motion: The Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 461 acres in Bexar County for addition to Government Canyon State Natural Area. I'd be happy to answer any questions.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: That's terrific. Questions? Discussion? Nobody has signed up to speak on this one. So motion for approval? Moved by Commissioner Morian. Second by Commissioner Falcon. All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thanks, Ted.
We struck six. So we're on to No. 7, Chronic Wasting Disease Rules, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes, Mr. Mitch Lockwood. Good morning, Mitch.
MR. LOCKWOOD: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Mitch Lockwood. I'm the Big Game Program Director and this morning staff is seeking adoption of a regulation proposal that is designed to determine the geographic extent and the prevalence of Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD and designed to contain this disease to an area in which it's known to exist.
This proposal designates three CWD zones based on the best available science. The containment zone or this area in red on the map before you, is an area in which Chronic Wasting Disease has been detected or the detection of the disease is highly probable. The high risk zone, this area in yellow, is the area in which the detection of CWD could reasonably be expected. And the area in blue is our buffer zone, which is an area within which the probability of discovering Chronic Wasting Disease is greater than elsewhere in the state, than in any non-CWD zone.
These rules, if adopted, would authorize the Executive Director to designate any geographic area in this state as a CWD zone using the best available science. But before doing so, the Executive Director must notify the presiding officer of this Commission and shall ensure that the Department make a reasonable effort to provide public notice in the event that a CWD zone is declared. And then finally, the Department shall initiate rulemaking as soon as is practicable to adopt any CWD zone that is designated by the Executive Director.
And as we have discussed, staff have proposed various restrictions to what I have referred to as unnatural deer movement for each of these zones, as well as requirements to have any deer that are harvested within the containment zone tested for Chronic Wasting Disease.
And with that, staff recommend that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopts new 65.80 through 65.88 concerning disease detection and response with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the October 5th, 2012, issue of the Texas Register. And with that, I'll be glad to entertain any questions you might have.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Mitch. Any questions? We do have someone signed up to speak on that, but any questions before that? Commissioner Duggins.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Work this fancy system here. Would you remind us what our plan is in terms of working with the State of New Mexico as we move forward with this process, please?
MR. LOCKWOOD: Yes, sir. We have -- we have been working with New Mexico. We've met with them in person and then had some subsequent conversations with them learning more about what their plans are and how we can work together. One question that this relates to that was asked at the previous Commission meeting that we were going to look into was what is New Mexico doing that would be consistent with or not consistent with this proposal with regard to deer movement and how many captive facilities, for example, might they have.
And they have 25 different facilities in the state that are what we would refer to as high-fenced ranches. Two of which are what we would refer to as permitted deer breeders. So a total of two in the state. None of which are anywhere near this CWD zone and -- or, excuse me, into their areas in which CWD has been detected. And so they do allow for movement between their breeder facilities just like we do, but they have told us they probably or likely would not authorize the establishment of any new captive facility within their known CWD areas. So not to digress too much, but I do recall that was some interest of this Commission at the last meeting.
We have talked about and continue to have discussions with them about some potential research to get a better idea of the geographic extent of this disease, such as some genetic analysis to try and determine some populations of inference of where this disease may be confined. But for the time being with available funds, we think we can make a lot of progress just with these check stations. But we do have a commitment, as do they, to work together to try and contain this disease to where it exists.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Mitch.
MR. LOCKWOOD: I should say, Mr. Chairman, that we did receive public comments on --
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Oh, please.
MR. LOCKWOOD: -- this proposal. We received 11 public comments. Three of them were in opposition. Eight were in support of this proposal. And as I shared yesterday, one of those in opposition that gave a reason was germane to the proposal and the concern was that perhaps -- there was concern that one individual such as our Executive Director be able to establish a CWD zone. But as I shared with this Commission, there's a process to follow that, to have rule adoption of a CWD zone.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Mitch. We'll now hear from Mr. Doug Slack. Welcome.
MR. SLACK: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners and Mr. Smith, I appreciate the opportunity to speak before you representing the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society. It is an 11,000 member organization of which Texas has the largest state affiliated chapter, made up primarily of professional scientists, biologists, managers, conservationists, consultants, and the like.
The emergence of CWD in Texas, I say sadly the emergence, places us in a party of 20, 21 other states and two provinces as having the disease. We have appreciated the Department's aggressive response to the emergence of this disease in West Texas and that aggressive response is, in part, this rule that you have before you. We think it's very important that the Executive Director be able to respond to new detections beyond what we have right now in an immediate way and then seek -- well, after concurrence with the Chairman -- but then seek public input on the nature of that response and we think that is very, very important.
The stakes are really high for Texas. The stakes are incredibly high. We know -- one of the few things we know about CWD is that it's always fatal and animals that get that disease are going to die and it would -- could have an impact on the healthy deer herd, maybe some would say too healthy deer herd of Texas. But that's part of our wildlife legacy. Part of what we're giving to our progeny into the future.
The second thing that is part of the these high stakes is that it could cause sportsmen to look at an area that has an outbreak of this disease, it could cause them to back off on hunting there, recreation there. Which in turn could result in them dropping out of that part of Texas culture, recreational hunting. And with that, that can impact the Department's Pittman-Robertson funding in the long term. But just as important, just as important and many of you know quite well from personal experience, having this disease pop up in Texas in certain communities could affect the economy of those communities. It could affect the culture of those communities. I mean you only have to go a few tens of miles west of Austin and you get entire communities, their livelihood depends on deer hunting.
The Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society believes that the program outlined in these rules will minimize the risks of the spread of CWD to susceptible cervids and ensure that Texas' wildlife legacy is protected for future generations. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Mr. Slack. Appreciate it. Thanks for you comments. Any discussion or questions? Commissioner Falcon.
COMMISSIONER FALCON: I have a technical question for Mitch. Mitch, does Chronic Wasting Disease cross the placenta in a pregnant doe? Do you know? I never read anywhere, but...
MR. LOCKWOOD: To my knowledge, Commissioner, there's no evidence of any vertical transmission of this disease where it may be passed from dam to offspring. There are -- there's still some questions associated with that. Especially with recent detection of Chronic Wasting Disease in some other states. The best example that comes to mind is Minnesota; but there's some question about how CWD has entered into some facilities, captive facilities, and some still question whether or not that vertical transmission may be a possibility. At this time though, there's still no evidence that suggests that that would occur to my knowledge.
COMMISSIONER FALCON: All right. And the second question that I have is I know that we have a plan for our state and we're basically looking to the north for any problems, but what about any discussion with Mexico and the possibility of having animals crossing back and forth across the river and causing problems there? Do we have a plan for that?
MR. LOCKWOOD: We really have not initiated discussion at this point with our counterparts in Mexico on this issue. I think it is important. There is quite possibly some movement of deer. Possibly not only from New Mexico into Texas, but you could have some -- there's some corridors that cut across Texas into Mexico. But we haven't had those discussions, and it is my understanding that Mexico has not really even initiated any Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance in their country. I agree that that is important, and those discussions have not yet begun.
COMMISSIONER FALCON: All right, thank you.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Mitch. Thank you. Any other questions? All right, motion for approval?
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: So moved.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Hughes. Second Commissioner Morian. All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you.
All right. Item 8 is Rules Regarding Zebra Mussels, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes, Mr. Ken Kurzawski.
MR. KURZAWSKI: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Ken Kurzawski with Inland Fisheries Division. And today, I'll go over some of the rules pertaining to transport of harmful or potentially harmful exotic species.
If you recall early this year, the Commission took action that impacted boaters and anglers on the Red River and Lake Lavon. This was due to the Zebra mussel population in Lake Texoma. We were concerned about veligers, the microscopic larvae of Zebra mussels being transported in water coming off Lake Texoma. We put some rules into place that -- in order for people to not be transporting those, they would have to drain their water when leaving those reservoirs and we did put those rules in effect May 17th of this year to coincide with the onset of the peak boating season and also with the marketing campaign where we've been vigorously giving the anglers the message to clean, drain, and dry their boats.
Unfortunately early this year, we did discover Zebra mussels in Lake Ray Roberts and also below Lake Ray Roberts in Elm Fork of the Trinity River and there's about 14, 15 miles of that river that will drain into Lake Lewisville. So on July 30th, we put an emergency rule into effect to extend those draining rules to those water bodies and those rules are due to expire on November 26th of this year.
In August, Mr. Smith requested permission at the meeting to make these rules permanent and we did for Lake Ray Roberts and Lewisville and also that stretch of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River between them. Those were published in the Texas Register. We did receive two comments in favor of that. So based on that, staff would recommend that Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the amendments to 57.972 concerning general rules with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the October 5th, 2012, issue of the Texas Register.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Ken Commissioner Duggins.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Ken, remind us. Have the mussels been discovered or found in Lake Lewisville?
MR. KURZAWSKI: No, no. We are --
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Are we monitoring? Continued monitoring?
MR. KURZAWSKI: Yes, we're monitoring. We're continuing to monitor that stretch of the river below Lake Roberts and also monitoring Lake Lewisville. And we're also in conjunction with Dr. McMahon of The University of Texas up there, we're monitoring a number of lakes in the Metroplex.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is there any reason that these rules shouldn't extend to a somewhat wider geographic area?
MR. KURZAWSKI: Well, the basis of the rules is transporting of prohibited species and we -- you know, we're -- we need the known presence of that species in the water body to sort of impact the rules or water bodies down below that. That's what the rule is based on. We don't have general authority to just say you can't drain -- or, you know, you have to drain water in the lakes, so.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So we have to -- your understanding is we have to wait until it's actually found before we can take preventative measures or take some reactionary measures?
MR. KURZAWSKI: Yes, because the rule does -- the rule that we're using is concerning possession of those exotic species.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is there -- maybe this a question for Ann. Is there any authority to take some preemptive steps, for example, with stream -- the lake water body downstream of Lewisville if we assume it's likely to be transmitted downstream, why shouldn't we go ahead and -- this is not an onerous rule if adopted, at least in my judgment.
MS. BRIGHT: In terms of action today --
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: No, I understand not today. I'm just saying in general. You need to look into it?
MS. BRIGHT: I would like to have an attorney-client discussion outside the presence of...
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: That's fair. I just think we ought to look at it rather than wait until they're found.
MS. BRIGHT: Absolutely.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I don't know why we wouldn't at least in the same watershed consider implementing this same rule. It is not onerous to do this.
MS. BRIGHT: We're happy to look into that.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I would like to ask that we do that before the January -- try to put something on the January agenda to discuss that, please.
MS. BRIGHT: Okay, we can do that.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Vice-Chairman, if I could just add two things. One, you know, we do have a very active boater and angler education campaign that transcends just those lakes up in North Texas and so that's where we think we're probably going to be the most effective in terms of educating boaters and anglers and elevate awareness. I know that doesn't get exactly to what you're speaking to, but I wanted to just remind you of that.
Secondly, when we do find it, we have the capacity for emergency rulemaking to be able to implement something immediately once our Inland Fisheries biologists find it and come back. But we'll look at the more preemptive idea that you have. But I just wanted to remind you of those two tools that we do have.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: No, and I understand that and appreciate it. I just think, as I say, given that it takes so little effort to do this and it may really stem the transmission of these veligers -- is that how you say it?
MR. KURZAWSKI: Veligers.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Veligers. I just I think we ought to at least consider it and have input from your staff, you and your staff on whether we should or shouldn't do it. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions for Ken? All right. So moving ahead, motion for approval on Item 8? Moved by Commissioner Duggins. Second by Commissioner Hughes. All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.
Okay. No. 9 is Boater Education Deferral Rules, Scott Boruff. Good morning, Scott.
MR. BORUFF: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Scott Boruff. I'm here today to present you with an action item regarding a deferral for boater education.
As a little bit of background, I just want to remind you that in 1997, the first boater safety law was passed by the 75th Legislature. That law really exempted 18-year-olds and above from the boater education requirements. Therefore, in the last several years in the wake of some serious boating accidents, there's been more interest in increasing the boater education requirements for folks. In that regard, in 2009 the 81st Legislature created a recreational boating safety advisory panel. That panel was appointed by the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker. It included folks from the sales industry, the rental industry, the fishing industry, and others, including our former Boating Law Administrator for the state here in Texas.
That panel met after that Legislative session mostly in 2010, and ultimately made a recommendation to the 82nd Legislature that the 18-year-old and above deferral be dropped. That mandatory boater education be mandated for all born on or after September the 1st, 1993, and that Texas Parks & Wildlife create a deferral program. And so with that recommendation, the Legislature did just that.
They passed House Bill 1395 in the last Legislative session, which created the new born on or after date of September the 1st, 1993. It removed the old exemption for 18-year-olds and above, and it required the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to establish a deferral program. And by the way, I'm not going to read the entire Parks & Wildlife Code there, but that the program should not cost the boating industry -- dealers, manufacturers, and distributors. We have been working with the constituents for quite some time.
You may remember we had this on the agenda back in August. We had some concern from the Boating Trades Association and others about the proposal that was on the table. So we've gone back to the drawing board with those groups and I handed out to you yesterday a letter from the Boating Trades Association which endorses the plan that's before you.
The plan is a one time and one time only 15-day deferral for persons 18 years old and older. This is consistent with -- I will remind you we talked yesterday about the simplicity. That we were really focusing on trying to come up with something that was easy for both the public and for our Law Enforcement Division to be able to enforce. Right now when you buy a new boat or a used boat from a dealer, you have 15 days to get your license for that boat. So what we've come up with is a 15-day one time deferral that will look, for the most part, parallel to that process. Allows for easier enforcement. Only affects those born after September the 1st, 1993. Which means as of today, it only affects 19-year-olds, 18 to 19-year-olds. And each year out it will affect more and more people. The average boat purchaser is 45 to 49 years old. So for the average boat purchaser, this will not really affect them for 25 plus years.
This 15 days, one of the reasons we settled here is because it does accommodate folks that may be renting a boat for a couple of weeks, for example, which does happen. Folks do go rent houseboats, take a two-week vacation. The fee that we're asking that you approve is a $10 fee for this 15-day deferral.
We received four public comments. Two of those comments were in favor, and two were opposed. The two that were opposed didn't want any deferral at all. So the recommendation that's before you today is that the Parks & Wildlife Commission adopts an amendment concerning mandatory boater education with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the October 5th, 2012, Texas Register.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Scott.
MR. BORUFF: I'd be glad to answer any questions.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions? Commissioner Duggins.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Just a point of clarification because of some of the discussion yesterday. I just want to confirm that if adopted, there would be no deferral for persons younger than 18 whether for sale or rental.
MR. BORUFF: That is correct.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We do have three people signed up to speak on this -- on this item. We're going to start with Pete Clark. Mr. Clark.
MR. CLARK: Good morning, Commissioners. My name is Pete Clark and I own a company called Just For Fun Watercraft Rental. I started this company 25 years ago and have supported my family of five and put kids through college and, you know, it's just your typical American success story.
I testified to the advisory panel that was put together on this matter and in brief, they saw merit in my argument that boat rental is already required by law to provide education to their customers and that it would hamper our business and really severely hamper our business if the exemption/deferral that was talked about wasn't put in place for boat rental.
House Bill 1395 stated -- and I'm going to quote -- a person is not required to comply with Section 31.109 if that person is exempt by rule of the Commission as a customer of a business engaged in renting, showing, demonstrating, or testing boats.
When you see the stuff that was posted with the agenda, they leave the renting out. I talked to Representative Parker's office during the process that this bill was placed and in previous Legislative sessions and had multiple discussion that it was imperative that boat rental was exempt from this policy due to the fact that it's already legally required.
When the rulemaking process started and I was pretty excited about this bill passing and the rulemaking process starting because I'd worked with Parks & Wildlife previously in a rulemaking process and it was a very positive process. Well, at the 11th hour, this thing just went south. That's why it was moved from the previous agenda. You know, we found out that there was just a completely opposite interpretation of what we the boat rental community thought was going on.
We met. We discussed. We have a difference of opinion. We just -- we see this completely differently. I had discussions with people that were on that advisory panel, and you're going to hear from one of them here after me. They've told me what their intention was. I know what the intention was when I talked with Representative Parker's staff. We have, like I said, a kind of difference of opinion. During this process in talking with staff, there's never been a debate about the safety and all that issue. The only debate that I've heard is our software won't allow it. You know, this won't hurt your business.
It will devastate my business. I may be the largest contributor of boat taxes to Parks & Wildlife. I mean we are an economic factor that should be considered in this case. So I ask that you either don't pass this resolution or remove the boat rental aspect from it until we can work out a logical solution. I believe in not doing so that we're going to make irreparable harm to the local economy, and I'd be glad to answer any questions that anybody might have.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Mr. Clark, thank you. Commissioner Scott, please.
COMMISSIONER SCOTT: If I can figure out how to use this new gizmo. There it is. Out of curiosity, you say that you already have a training schedule or program when you're renting a boat. What is the duration and what kind of training deal do you presently put on for somebody that just shows up to rent something?
MR. CLARK: Well, ours is two -- our is done orally and physically with the boat in question and it's tailored to the use of that boat. So our orientation, is what we call it, would be different with a personal watercraft as it would be with a pontoon boat or it would be with a ski boat. It would be tailored to fit that. There's a written checklist and a written portion of it as well as a demonstration and oral presentation to the customer of which they sign and acknowledge each specific item saying that they understand those items.
It is highly concentrated on issues of state law and safety issues. It doesn't address a lot of the -- what I would call less critical issues in safety. You know, we don't talk about, you know, trailering procedures that's part of the education process because they won't have to use those ideas. So it's really a -- it's safe operation, no-wake zones, hazard areas, 50-foot rule on personal watercraft. It's all those key safety issues and they -- we're required in the Water Safety Act to give them this information before we allow them to use a boat, so that's already state law and we're already required to do it and we're also required to do it each and every time they operate the boat.
So if they come back three days later and operate the boat, we can't just say your safety lesson is on file. We have to go through the motions and do the entire thing again and document each step of that. And that's the way we do it, so that was our justification in not putting this interruption in front of the customer process. Did that answer your question?
COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Yes, thank you.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Commissioner Duggins.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Mr. Clark, I'm not sure I'm understanding why this proposed rule if adopted would have the impact, negative impact, on boat sales that you say it would if a perspective customer can come in and pay $10 and get a 15-day deferral that allows that customer to checkout your -- whatever boat you're selling on more than one occasion and I'm just trying to make sure I understand why -- what the basis of your objection is to this, since we're -- if it's adopted, we're saying that for $10 you can get 15 days to take a 3- to 4-hour important class on safety.
MR. CLARK: Right. And I understand your question, and I think there's a little bit of confusion there. Number one, I'm renting boats. I'm not selling them, so I'm not in the sales business. I'm in, you know, strictly rental. Like you're checking out a library book, more than rent to own or anything else. And what you said is that it wouldn't prevent somebody from coming back and buying that $10 deal. Well, it's only available once in their lifetime. So, you know, a husband and wife are out for a Sunday drive and they decide to rent a boat and they can buy that $10 waiver. Five years later, they decide to rent a boat again and they can't do it.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: If they've got five years to take a short class, I mean if they're into boats, it doesn't seem like that's...
MR. CLARK: Well -- I'm sorry to interrupt. Go ahead.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: No, no. It's fine. I'm just trying to have a discussion here.
MR. CLARK: Yeah. Well, I mean the customer base that I deal with are not what I could call the in-to-boats people. I mean these are tourists. These are people from other parts of the state, other parts of the country, other countries. They want to enjoy the beautiful waterways of Texas and, you know, we need an option that we can capture that willing customer and take care of them and I understand that we have the option to do it once. But we've alleviated the huge potential for repeat business that every business strives for.
If I do a good job and I take good care of my customers, I want them to come back over and over again. Well, now I have this 3- or 4-hour obstacle that we've already addressed through the existing State law. You know, again, would everybody cease to do business with me? No. But there sure would be a lot of them. You know, if they required -- this was the analysis I gave staff is, you know, you go to eat a steak dinner and your waiter comes to the table and says "Do you have your red meat permit?" And you say no, so you've got to run off to K-mart to buy a red meat permit. Well, you're just going to stop at HEB and get a burger and go home. You're not going back to the restaurant.
So when we turn those people away, they're not going to come back to us. You know, that's our -- that's where we believe this will hurt the business.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay, thank you.
MR. CLARK: Uh-huh.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Scott.
COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Scott, this is a question for you. On this particular issue, you were kind of running interference and trying to negotiate this deal, correct?
MR. BORUFF: Well, at some point. Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER SCOTT: At some point, okay. I'm just trying to understand --
MR. BORUFF: I don't want to take too much credit for it. I don't want to interrupt you.
COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I understand.
MR. BORUFF: This was a process that was really driven by a team of folks from our Communications Division and our Law Enforcement Division and I did help support that from the Executive Office perspective.
COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So in that vein, I noticed we have two supports and two opposed to this rule out of all the boat dealers in the state, correct?
MR. BORUFF: We had four comments. Two for and two against and the two that were against wanted us to have no deferral for anybody.
COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I'm just trying to -- to me, that seems like an awfully low number of pro or con when you think about how many boat people there are in this state. So I'm just making sure that we all are aware that you only got four comments on this whole issue because that to me seems like an awfully low number.
MR. BORUFF: That is what we got.
COMMISSIONER SCOTT: That answered the question.
MR. BORUFF: Very good.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Scott, I'm sorry. Through this process, there was discussion. Can you just refresh our memories a bit on the discussion that you had with regard to the possibility of a, you know, a rental waiver and standardizing that short educational process for the person who's just, you know, spontaneously renting because they happen to be at a lake or happen to find an opportunity to rent, you know, watercraft? I mean was there some discussion about -- obviously, there was some discussion about the possibility of sort of a waiver, if you will, for people who are renting as long as they've been through a standardized indoctrination.
MR. BORUFF: Well, the deferral system is a waiver, in effect, Mr. Chairman. There have been lots of discussions about many iterations of the model that might work the best. I guess what I would say is first of all, Mr. Clark is -- runs a very reputable outfit. We definitely looked into that. He does what he's supposed to do, and we wish all boat livery operators did the same kind of job that Mr. Clark does. He is one of the few that has taken the time to get all of his people certified through our boater education certification class; so most of his employees, if not all of his employees, are certified to give a test on site. For example, when you go to his livery, they can give you a test to accomplish your boater education requirements. You can do it right there.
You can get on the internet. Anywhere you can get an internet signal, you can get on the internet and take an internet class to get this certification or you can go to an in-person class to do it. So there's multiple vehicles for people to look -- assuming you approve this deferral, there's multiple ways for them to get the deferral and to get the boater education requirements accomplished.
I will say in regards to -- because one of the reasons we pulled this -- Mr. Clark is exactly right. One of the reasons we pulled this in August is because of his concerns about what his perception was about whether there should be a complete exemption for boat liveries or boat rental outfits. So that's what prompted us to go back and really look at and have longer discussions with Mr. Clark and with the BTA.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Right.
MR. BORUFF: I will tell you a couple things that might help you understand why we came to the conclusion we did relative to that argument. We sent a survey out to all 50 states and we asked all 50 states if you have a deferral system for rental -- for boat rental outfits, has it caused a negative financial impact to the boat rental industry in your state?
We got 13 responses. All 13 said, no, that there was no evidence in their states that the deferral system that they had in place -- now, I think I shared with you yesterday the deferral system is not exactly like ours. There was quite a bit of variability there. But according to the state responses we got of 13 states that responded, they all said there had been no negative financial impact to the livery business in their state.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Let me interject real quickly. What is the primary difference, if there is one, in their deferral systems versus the proposed one or for us?
MR. BORUFF: Well, it's hard to characterize, Mr. Chairman. There were states that had no deferral system. You can't get a deferral. You just have to take your boater education. That's it. There are others that had it as little as one to three days. And there are others that had what in essence is a boat deferral for a year and so they're -- it's kind of all over the place out there, to be honest with you.
The second piece of information that was I think compelling for us, this is the report that the Governor's advisory panel sent back to the Legislature and I'm going to read you a quote out this. This is recommendations. I'm not going to read you the whole recommendation. I'm going to read you the pertinent sentence. "The Legislature should grant authority to Texas Parks & Wildlife to establish an integrated temporary deferral program for liveries, new boat sales, and dealer business purposes."
So there was specific language in the report that envisions a deferral program for liveries as well as for boat -- so that was the second piece of evidence that we just kind of looked at as we were trying to promulgate this rule. And the second is we did go back and talk to the authors of the bill about Legislative intent and we did hear from them that their intent was not to mandate an exemption. They did leave that option open. They intended for the Parks & Wildlife Commission to decide what was best.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Thanks, Scott. Appreciate that.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Do states reciprocate on boat education? If somebody from another state comes to rent a boat and they've already taken the -- in that state, do we honor that here?
MR. BORUFF: I'll have to defer to somebody that knows the answer.
MR. SPICE: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, I'm Tim Spice, the Boater Education Coordinator. There is a reciprocity clause in -- with the National Association for State Boating Law Administrators. So anyone who has taken a certified course can come to another state and they can rent a boat, they can buy a boat, they can use it according to our laws. All they have to do is show that game warden their card and they would be good to go, sir.
The -- in respect to the course provided by the liveries, some of the problems there are the Parks & Wildlife Code does not give specific direction on what to teach. Although Pete Clark's business does a great job, we have many other liveries that I couldn't tell you what they teach. It just says offer a course on how to operate that boat and the local hazards. And that type of course is not considered a NASBLA approved course and so it would not have reciprocity from any of the states to our own.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Okay, we do have two more signed up to speak on this. Mr. Del Waters.
MR. WATERS: For the record, my name is Del Waters. I'm a boat dealer here in Austin, Texas, at the Ski Dock. I've been in the boat business since '86 full time. I'm also a BTA Board Member, BTAT boater member, and I also was on the panel, the advisory panel to the Legislature; so I'm familiar with the subject.
One of the things I want to point out is that overall boating is a very safe activity and consistently, it comes out as a very safe activity when you look at participation versus accidents. The other thing that I think is important to know is that boater's education is not the silver bullet or the magic wand. That in Texas, the 5 or 6 percent of the people who have boater's education account for 20 to 25 percent of the boating accidents.
We can't explain that. We never did -- could explain that during the advisory panel, but we tried to figure that out. Another important thing is that Alabama had a very quick phase-in for boater's education and five years after they had full implementation of the phase-in, Alabama and death reduction rate was 23rd out of 50 states. Barely minimally above the median income -- median approval. So the reason we have a slow phase-in in this state has to do with the fact that there was not any evidence that we could find that boater's education is making a big impact.
Now, that doesn't mean boater education is not important; but it means that it's not effective particularly and we can't see numbers that prove that it's been effective. What we did discover is as the water related deaths, that 75 percent of them are not considered boating accidents. And of the 25 percent that were boating accidents, that over half of them were people falling out of a boat. Most of these accidents have been in small boats. That's open small boats. And it's people in kayaks and canoes and small fishing boats that really end up dying in boating accidents for the large part. Many times a boater are anchored and the people are partying when this happens and the boat is not even under way. At which point, the boater's education will not have an effect.
In the bill for the mandatory education, there was very two distinct words used. The word deferral was used applying to new boat purchases and the word exemption was used for boat rental and that was not an accident. And the reason it was is because in Pete's particular case, there was great evidence showing that if you give a good orientation, that that one-on-one on the day you're using the boat may be more effective than the course you took three to five years ago that spent time talking about the lighting configuration on a 300-foot barge or how to trailer your boat or all these other things that are peripheral things that don't really make you safe operating that boat that day.
And so the rulemaking authority that we envisioned as a panel for the Parks & Wildlife was them to define for the boat operators -- I mean the rental operators like Pete that are not doing a good job, have some definition of what they're supposed to do in that orientation. Not to throw them into a 15-day deferral that we ultimately settled on. So that was the orientation of where the deferral versus exemption came from.
And I've also talked to Tan Parker's office and we had understood as a panel and I can only speak for the panel, that that was two different categories of deferral and exemption. And I'm open for any questions.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Mr. Water -- any questions for Mr. Waters? Thank you very much.
Next up is Rick Smith.
MR. RICK SMITH: Good morning. My name is Rick Smith. I'm the current President of the Boating Trades Association of Texas. I'm also a boat dealer in Central Texas, have been for 44 years. Grew up on Lake Belton, boating and fishing. In fact, our farmland is under Lake Belton; so that will give you an indication of how long I've been around boats and boating, fishing on the Leon River at first.
I wanted to let you know what BTAT is. BTAT is an association, a Texas association of marine dealers, manufacturers, representatives, distributors, associate members and marine operators who are dedicated to protecting the interests of boating and fishing and to bringing the joys and pleasures of the outdoor lifestyle to Texans and to our state visitors. I want to thank the Commissioners and the Texas Parks & Wildlife staff for their hard work on behalf of the Texas natural resources and for the work that was put in that later became House Bill 1395.
The special safety panel that Del talked about was convened in 2010 and it spent many, many hours putting together this program that later became House Bill 1395. It became law during the 82nd Legislative session. BTAT feels that we have a law that will work to promote boating and boating safety for all. It is phased in very similar to what we have with mandatory hunter education, which was started in 1988. By phasing it in, we are not putting a strain on Parks & Wildlife's resources, which there was some discussion on that; and not putting a hardship on Texas boaters. By allowing a 15-day waiver, we will continue to be a vacation friendly state for all the visitors that come to Texas to enjoy our streams, our rivers, our lakes, and our bays.
Most of our current boaters have years of experience on the water and the phase-in will allow our younger Texans to gain that knowledge through education and their own personal experiences on the water. I would like to address the comments about only being four comments coming in. Boating Trades has been very active with this with our members throughout the state and so we have been commenting. We just haven't sent it into Parks & Wildlife. There's been a lot of discussion on this, and probably would have been a better idea to have sent those comments in; but we did it in the form of a letter, too. And in relation to the livery, that's a different issue and we don't take that as a personal stand on that. Although, I can understand the wording of the law.
The marine and fishing industry in Texas is one of the largest in the nation and continues to bring in millions of dollars of revenue to the state and businessmen and businesswomen of Texas. It is our goal to continue to make Texas boating and fishing friendly by recommending passage of the rule of the 15-day waiver to allow boaters time to develop their boating skills and get their basic knowledge that comes from boater ed. Thank you and thank you for the time that you've given me. If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Mr. Smith, thank you. Appreciate your comments. Any other questions or discussion? Commissioner Duggins.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any other speakers?
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: No other speakers.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I don't have any questions for you. I just wanted to -- in response to the Chairman's request for discussion, say that as I understand this proposed rule, it would only affect 19-year-olds at this point. I very much appreciate Mr. Clark's comments and concerns and I think nevertheless because it only affects 19-year-olds, we should try it and monitor the livery situation going forward. This isn't something that can't be tweaked or adjusted if it turns out it's not working. So with that, with those comments, I would move approval.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: So moved by Commissioner Duggins. Any other discussion -- second by Commissioner Martin. All in favor?
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: I've got one more question.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Excuse me. Please.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Scott, do we have any -- is there any data that's kept on accidents that occurred by the people that rent boats? Is there any data? Is that separated out, or do you have any --
MR. BORUFF: It's very sketchy at this point, Commissioner. We did go back and try to look at that and we found some data points; but there was very little, to be honest with you. The data did not drive the decision, and we've acknowledged that. We certainly have in regards to Vice-Chairman Duggins' comment, talked with our staff about trying to develop a tool early on in this process that would allow us to gather data over the next several years so that we could then come back to the Commission and do just what you recommended, Commissioner Duggins, is to try to report back to you once we put together some way to collect this data in an effective manner.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. And I would just add that I would like to ask staff to -- you know, working with the operators and the folks who are renting, to gather information and just see how these new deferral rules are working and to report back periodically to the Commission if you would, please.
So thanks, Scott. Appreciate that.
MR. BORUFF: We can do that.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: All right. So we had our motion from Commissioner Duggins. Second Martin. Any -- all in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: No opposed? All in -- motion carries.
And we're on to No. 10, Rules Regarding Official Corporate Partners and Licensing Department Brands, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes. Darcy, good morning.
MS. BONTEMPO: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Darcy Bontempo. I'm the Marketing Director at Texas Parks & Wildlife. This morning I'm going to be presenting proposed changes to the for-profit partnership rules, which the Commission adopted in January.
The -- in January after the adoption of the for-profit partnership rules, these were adopted in order to implement the House Bill 1300, which was actually to help the Department generate additional revenue by partnering with for-profit entities. Those rules were adopted and they went into effect May of this year. In accordance with the rules, the Department issued a Request for Proposal, an RFP as it's called; and that was so that we could competitively select official corporate partners.
In July, the RFP was issued. We contacted -- actually sent out e-mails with the RFP to more than 3,000 companies throughout the state. We also secured media coverage across the state, including an AP story that was carried outside of Texas as well. And the news stories that ran were mostly positive and informative. Though there were some concerns expressed about overcommercialization of the parks, negative impact on the visitor experience.
During the RFP process, we were contacted by several companies that were interested in meeting with us. And as you probably know, the RFP process does not allow for us to meet individually with companies during the solicitation process. We believe that is part of the reason why when the solicitation closed, we did not receive any responses to this RFP. However, follow up with several of these companies does suggest that there is interest in partnering with the Department in terms of joint promotions, possibly licensing, and also other business arrangements possibly at levels lower than the hundred thousand, which was what the minimum was outlined in the RFP.
At this point, we feel that we have done due diligence in terms of going through a competitive process. It's been a learning process for us. We are the first State agency in the country that has attempted to designate for-profit entities as official corporate partners. And at this point, we're now recommending based on our learning that we amend the for-profit partnership rules so that the Executive Director would be able to waive that requirement for both the official corporate partner designation, as well as for the licensing of Department brands.
These proposed amendments to the rules were published on October 5th in the Texas Register. We did not receive any comments. Therefore, staff does recommend that the Commission approve the following changes to the for-profit partnership rules of 51.701. Except as otherwise provided herein, official corporate partner departmentwide shall be selected through a fair and competitive process that takes into consideration the amount of support being offered and the needs of the Department, provided however the Department's Executive Director or designee may waive competitive process requirements if such a waiver is in the best interest of the Department.
Similarly for 51.704, except as otherwise provided herein, the Department shall use a competitive process to award the licensing rights for one or more Department brands, provided however the Department's Executive Director or designee may waive competitive process requirements if such a waiver is in the best interest of the Department.
That concludes my presentation. I would be happy to answer any questions.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Darcy? Thanks, Darcy. Appreciate it.
MS. BONTEMPO: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Nobody is signed up to speak on that item. Motion for approval? Commissioner Falcon. Second Commissioner Scott. All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes)
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you, Darcy.
MS. BONTEMPO: Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Briefing Item No. 11, Cultural Resources Program, Devils River Archaeology, Mr. Brent Leisure and Michael Strutt.
MR. STRUTT: Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Michael Strutt. For the record, I am the Director of Cultural Resources for Texas Parks & Wildlife. And as y'all are aware, in June of this year as part of our due diligence for planning the Devils River State Natural Area South Unit or the Big Satan Unit, we conducted an archaeological field school in partnership with the Texas Archaeological Society, which is an avocational society of several hundred members across the state.
Twenty-two operations took place this June over one week, June 9 through 16. We conducted 14 crews survey, which entailed people walking across the landscape trying to stay somewhat in a line looking at the ground, seeing if there were any archaeological remains there. We did an under -- an intensive survey of the Goldwire Ranch, which is the historic ranch out of which the current property evolved and those remains are around what is now the superintendent's house.
We did small test excavations on four sites, and I'll highlight some of that information here in a few minutes. One of the rock shelters that's on the property had been damaged. Looting took place there over the years. So we restored that floor and recorded the rock art that's on the walls in that shelter and we had an artifact in GIS processing lab on the property during the entire time that we were there. The efforts were supported by 28 State Parks employees from all over the state. We had ten TAS members who also served as crew chiefs. We also had folks from the Texas Historical Commission, and one gentleman from the National Park Service who was a former TPWD employee from Seminole Canyon.
The combined support staff of around 40 people helped to ensure that all of our fieldwork ran smoothly during that week. The field school participants included 220 adults and 43 youths, so we had 263 volunteers for that week on the ground. They ranged in age from -- my favorite you see here -- a little six-year-old to a 92-year-old woman who has been coming out and doing these field schools for decades. Several TAS volunteers were in their 80s and they volunteered to do survey, so they were out there walking in 100 plus degree heat during that week. When the cold front came through, it actually got down to 97 during that week.
Those volunteers gave Parks & Wildlife around 7,500 hours of volunteer time. To keep everyone safe, we instituted the incident command system. We maintained radio contact with all of our field crews and I will tell you that I was a little bit of a mother hen about that. As we were putting this thing together, I was very concerned with our volunteers' safety; so we ensured that not only did the field supervisors have radios, but then they had small radios that then went to a number of their field crews. So our supervisors were carrying a lot of equipment plus several radios just to keep in contact in case there were any emergencies.
As you can see here, we had the roving incident command system from the Wildlife Division and that team included three park police officers, which included one EMT at all times and a communication's manager. Our EMTs were equipped with search-and-rescue equipment and medical equipment. All our folks used good judgment and as I said, there were a couple of days that it reached highs of 107 plus and we had, as I said, 80-year-olds and 70-year-olds out in the field.
We started early in the morning, and broke early in the afternoon before it got really intensely hot. Nobody fortunately suffered from heat prostration. We had a couple of small emergencies, and they were easily taken care of by our EMT. As I mentioned, we had a GIS lab while we were there. All the survey data recording site locations and the level of areas that were surveyed each day was downloaded in the lodge. If you've been to the property, the big house we're now calling the lodge. We had set up a temporary GIS facility there. That staff of three began their workday late in the afternoon after everybody came in from the field and all the download work started as they began processing the maps. And on a number of occasions, most days actually, they worked late into the night to be able to put all of those maps together and give us realtime information on what we were discovering out there in the field.
And this is one of the first projects I've ever been associated with where we've actually had that kind of capability. Modern technology is really moving archaeology into the 21st century by being able to get this realtime data. Other information as it came in, we're still doing the old fashioned recordkeeping by hand, writing things down and we had -- as you can see the woman here. She was recording all of that information, making copies, ensuring that all of the information was consistent so that as we went back into the field each day, we knew exactly where we had been and we had the data that we needed to keep moving.
We set up a temporary open air artifact lab in the airplane hanger. Crews there, which included the 92-year-old, washed, presorted all of the artifacts. There were almost 5,000 artifacts discovered during that week, which included 61 known typeable projectile points. To distribute the crews evenly across nearly 18,000 acres of the natural area, we divided it up into 15 survey sectors, which were bounded by streams, roads, and other natural topographic features and landmarks.
So we had crews surveying in 14 of those sectors. The 15th will be done by my staff here at TPWD and we've also been doing other parts of the property over the last couple of years since we've purchased it. If you're familiar with the property, you know that it's a large, wide open landscape. So trying to survey nearly 18,000 acres is a bit of a tall order, even with 270 some people. Just as an illustration, the arrow in this image points out a full size Suburban and pickup truck from about a mile away. So it shows you the size of the landscape that we were putting people out into there, which is -- also explains a bit why I was a bit of a mother hen worrying about people getting lost or hurt out there. We only had one person during the time who got lost and he later responded that all who are not -- all who wander are not necessarily lost.
While we were on survey, we discovered a number of the historic ranching features. There were dams. There were several dams like this that were found. Troughs, fences, windmills, all those kinds of things that you can imagine that were part of historic ranches from the early 20th century, but are no longer used. As you can see in this example, have been taken over by the vegetation. We discovered and recorded all of those and as I mentioned, the Goldwire complex sits where the superintendent's house is and we found a fair amount of artifacts related to that and we think that actually the superintendent's house has part of the historic Goldwire house within it. We're not positive of that. We would have to do some architectural investigations; but we think that it sits, if nothing else, in the exact same spot that the Goldwire house sat.
The next several slides show you the evolution of that realtime data, as I mentioned with our GIS lab. We averaged nearly 900 acres a day. So on the first day, we had covered 650 acres. The second day, 1,400. Third day, 2,350. Next day, 3,300. Next day, 4,200. Next day, 5,400. And by the end of that week, we had covered 6,250 acres with these 270 folks, which is approximately 35 percent of the property. And as I mentioned before, not having seen this kind of work done before with the GIS lab, this is really -- was very, very valuable to us. It showed us exactly where we were covering and what we knew by the end of every day having this realtime data. The GIS lab folks were a huge benefit to our project.
The survey areas were broadly dispersed, and a wide range of canyon and upland settings. So we got to see a good part of the property. It provided us a good data set for studying the settlement patterns of man through time, and it gives us good management data for how we can begin planning this park. We also conducted small scale excavations on a couple of the known sites.
What we found was that on the river terraces, these sites demonstrate that there are intact stratigraphy for several feet. The upper picture is one of the sites just below the lodge and the lower site is one that's at the mouth of Big Satan Canyon, which actually is on National Park Service property. If you're familiar with the way the property runs, Park Service land runs up to a certain elevation and part of where we're going to -- planning boat take in, put out, and that kind of stuff runs along Park Service property. So we did a little bit of testing on their property as well.
This is the oldest artifact discovered during the survey, the Angostura point, which as you can see dates 6,800 to 4,000 B.C. It shows that man has been using this area for a very, very long time. This was found somewhere on the surface during the survey.
One of the rock shelters that was discovered had a long panel of rock art that we were not familiar with. Part of this property had been seen and surveyed by archaeologists in the 1980s, but this was a new panel for us. This contains lower Pecos River red and yellow style pigment. Although there were no cultural deposits with this archaeological site, this is new for us and it was an exciting find. The lower Pecos style dates about 4,300 to 2,750 years ago.
As an aside, as you've probably seen in your Legislative packets, we will be working with Representative Trey Martinez Fischer's office in regards to historic House Bill 690 that he proposed in the last session regarding historic features, properties, and graffiti, gang tagging especially. And what we would like to do is include rock art language in his bill. I spoke with his legislative assistant. He said he would be interested in seeing any language that we have, so we'll be working with the Legislature in trying to get that bill forward and help us out regarding rock art sites because rock art was not part of this bill.
So the geo database that we developed for the sites on the natural area allow us to explore a little about site distribution and settlement patterning. Of the 147 sites that were recorded, most of them are concentrated along the Devils River, as you might imagine, a water source. There were several dozen sites recorded there. A number of sites are on the major tributaries. This one shown here is the Little Satan and then here the Big Satan Creek, which feed into the Devils River. We're also fairly confident that the upland areas saw minor use. We saw a number of sites there.
The findings of these investigations were immediately as soon as we came back, put to use to help us in creating the public use plan for this property and it will help us in protecting its significant cultural resources. So in a very broad way, this one-week project helped us to understand the distribution of sites and man's use on the area. Especially in the backcountry and the excavations demonstrated that many sites have deep deposits and have excellent integrity for scientific understanding of our past.
As a manager, I'm very proud of the work that my folks and other the folks that assisted us did. Our team undertook to get a large-scale survey in a very quick period of time, a lot of work prior to and after this. Besides the daily fieldwork, all TPWD staff worked shifts on meal preparation and KP, clean up, all of that kind of thing. We had to do everything from soup to nuts for this project. We had one designated cook who came from Big Bend Ranch who also happens to be the park archaeologist.
Over the next year, my survey team will be working on a report. We had to pull two permits to do this work. One from the Texas Historical Commission and a scientific permit from the National Park Service and so those obligate us to write professional reports based on this work that we've done. That work then goes hand in hand with our general management plan and public use plan of the property. So with that, I ask if there are any questions?
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Sounds terrific. Thank you. Any questions? Commissioner Hughes.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Michael, how do we -- do we have a plan in place to protect rock art at Devils River or at any of our state parks or natural areas that do have existing art?
MR. STRUTT: We do on a case-by-case basis on those properties. For this particular property as we're planning it, we had a major planning session out there earlier this year and we discussed the various sites that have rock art in them. And if you're familiar with the property, the one shelter called Sunburst Shelter, which is about a mile from the lodge, we're actually going to have that area closed to the general public. That site has one of the best examples of lower Pecos style rock art in the region and so for that reason, we will keep it closed to the public except for tours.
We purchased a piece of property recently at Mother Neff, if you're familiar with it now. It doesn't have any rock art; but there is major archaeological deposits there and we've put in a remote sensing system there that alerts the park staff to when somebody is in that area. We have a similar system at Seminole Canyon and we have part of the system which we need to get back up and running at the Devils River North Unit to protect the rock art sites there.
It is a major consideration for our program and we work with the individual site superintendents and park police officers on those case-by-case basis.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.
MR. STRUTT: Certainly. If you're familiar with the site, there's tremendous rock art on this property. And several of the places we're considering keeping closed except for tours and then the others we will have signs and we've discussed the signs will have a stewardship message in them. If you've never been there and you want a tour of that, myself and my staff will be happy to give anybody a tour regarding the rock art and any of the other archaeological resources there.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: You mentioned the Angostura. Were there a lot of other archaic period points there I mean or some more refined late archaic points? I'm just curious.
MR. STRUTT: We did find really pretty much the whole gamut from that very early archaic -- the Angostura point to right through Perdiz, which is you know late, late prehistoric.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Perfect, thank you.
MR. STRUTT: Yeah, so man on has been on this property for a very, very long time.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Fantastic, it really is. That's great. Thank you very much. Appreciate the briefing.
MR. STRUTT: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay, I think we've completed our business and I declare us adjourned. Thank you all for being here.
In official recognition of the adoption of this resolution in a lawfully called public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, we hereby affix our signatures this _____ day of ______________, 2012.
T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman
Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman
Antonio Falcon, M.D., Member
Karen J. Hixon, Member
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member
Bill Jones, Member
Margaret Martin, Member
S. Reed Morian, Member
Dick Scott, Member
C E R T I F I C A T E
STATE OF TEXAS )
COUNTY OF TRAVIS )
I, Paige S. Watts, Certified Shorthand Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do hereby certify that the above-mentioned matter occurred as hereinbefore set out.
I FURTHER CERTIFY THAT the proceedings of such were reported by me or under my supervision, later reduced to typewritten form under my supervision and control and that the foregoing pages are a full, true, and correct transcription of the original notes.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Turn in date _____ day of ________________, 2012.
Paige S. Watts, CSR, RPR
CSR No.: 8311
Expiration: December 31, 2012
Firm Registration Number: 87
1016 La Posada Drive
Austin, Texas 78752
Job No. 104769